Michael McCarthy will shortly be ordained as the new Bishop of Rockhampton, taking in the Gladstone parish.
Michael McCarthy will shortly be ordained as the new Bishop of Rockhampton, taking in the Gladstone parish. Chris Ison

Former steelmaker bishop keen to see Gladstone industry

GLADSTONE Catholics will have a new leader on May 29.

Father Michael McCarthy will be an ordained bishop, charged with leading the central Queensland masses.

Appointed by Pope Francis, he was asked to become the Rockhampton Diocese's 10th bishop, a far cry from the man who was a steelmaker and scientist in his past.

"Once upon a time I was a steelmaker. After I finished school I studied for a science degree, qualified as an industrial chemist, and worked with BHP in steel making, so I'm interested in the industry down there (Gladstone)," Fr McCarthy said.

It will be a busy start for the newly elected bishop, who plans to tour the diocese immediately after his ordainment, a trip which will take him from Bundaberg out to the NT border and even as far north as Mackay, about 414,000sq km in total.

"I'm coming down to Gladstone. I want to tour the alumina works," he said.

The Father couldn't fault the Catholic education system in the Rockhampton diocese, saying schools excelled particularly in the teaching and forming of the faith.

"Well first and foremost, I'd say you've got a good group of very dedicated teachers, leaders and principals, and first and foremost is that excellence in education and it is a place where your children will be nourished in the faith by example and their (staff) dedication," he said.

Fr McCarthy was excited about working with the Gladstone Catholic community, one which was strong, as 2011 Census data indicated 21.2% (more than 12,000) of Gladstone residents identified themselves as Catholic.



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